The Chinese Town Where Crickets Are Worth Much More Than Gold

Cricket fighting has been popular in China for thousands of years, and with the country in full economic boom, fans of the “sport” are investing more money into it than ever before. One town in particular has built an entire industry around the genetically-superior crickets living in the surrounding fields, and for good reason, as the best specimens can reportedly sell for up to 50,000 yuan ($7,661).

The tradition of cricket fighting can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (618-904), and the crickets found in the fields around the town of Sidian, in China’s Shandong province, have long been renowned for their large size and aggressiveness, both very important features among enthusiasts of the sport. It is said that several of China’s emperors favored Sidian’s crickets for their high win rate, and today’s rich spend absurd amounts of money for exceptional specimens that can give them an edge against their rivals.

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